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Biden’s Back-to-School Goals on Target

June 14, 2021 by Ansley Puckett
In this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo, students wait to enter Wyandotte County High School in Kansas City, Kan., on the first day of in-person learning. The district was one of the last in the state to return to the classroom after going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona responded to the results of the April 2021 National Center for Education Statistics Survey on schools reopening.

The NAEP launched the NAEP School Survey in February, which surveyed approximately 3,500 schools each month at grades four and eight. The survey provides data on the attendance rates and instructional modes starting in March through the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

The survey found that as of April, 96% of K-8 schools were offering in-person learning options,while 59% of these schools were offering full-time in-person instruction.

“Today’s data reaffirms what we’ve been seeing and hearing for months – that we’ve met and exceeded President Biden’s goal of reopening the majority of K-8 schools, and that as a nation we continue to make significant progress in reopening as many schools as possible before the summer,” Cardona said in a statement released by the Department of Education.

Cardona also responded to the survey’s findings that 40% of Black students and 44% of Hispanic students were attending instruction in-person rather than remotely.

“While today’s data show that for the first time this year more Black and Hispanic fourth graders were attending school in-person full-time in April than attending fully remote, we have more work to do to ensure that Black, Hispanic, and Asian students have equal access to in-person learning options as their white peers, and that parents and students feel confident again learning inside school buildings,” Cardona said.

With increased access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, Cardona also said he expects all schools will offer full time in person instruction to students this fall.

“The Department will continue to work with schools and districts over the coming months to provide more students access to summer learning opportunities to re engage and prepare them for the 2021 school year, and ensure every student can learn and thrive five days a week inside their classrooms this fall,” Cardona said.

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